Every year, the ThreeSixtyEight team carries forward our favorite tradition: the annual team retreat. This year, we found ourselves in cars chosen by lot, voyaging hours across Louisiana and into a strange northern land (Arkansas). Thrilled and wary, we set out on a journey into an untouched land full of nature’s secrets: mountains, hot springs, and exactly what we needed to come together as a team.
Anywhere we go, we eat well. It might be that most of us are avid foodies, but we take our meals seriously. Keep reading to see a few of our favorite mealtime moments.
We hosted our annual team dinner at The Pantry West where we tasted German delights and reflected on our year. The family-style meal was particularly apt since each team member received awards that were both so teasing and endearing that they could only come from family. As we enjoyed charcuterie boards and bratwurst, we learned who was the “best @ grammer” (Tara), who was “most likely to slowly poison all of us” (Bo), and who was the “reigning Beyblade champion” (Adam).
The Food We Cooked
What kind of fake foodies would we be if we couldn’t put our money where our mouth is? The ThreeSixtyEight clan was divided up into several teams and the different team combos whipped up various meals at our humble abode. From custom cocktails to hot chicken, we devoured the culinary prowess of our teammates and nobody left hungry. It was then that we realized our full passion for food, and decided to open a restaurant (jk).
Superior Bath House
Far from the last of the savory stops we made, Superior Bath House may have been the height of our foodie adventure. Our temporary home of Hot Springs is known for its thermal baths, so we had to check it out. The magical water that has supplied the thermal baths of Hot Springs for hundreds of years now flows through the brewing tanks of Superior Bath House Brewery. To the delight of the ThreeSixtyEight beer heads and designers alike, this renovated bath house is aesthetically pleasing and serves up a wide variety of delicious brews.
The team explored the beautiful Garvan Gardens, a horticultural and architectural gold mine, by means of a clever and challenging scavenger hunt crafted by some of our more mysterious team members. Our randomized car teams were urged to investigate every cranny of these gorgeous gardens to uncover their mysteries, but even more, to uncover the mysteries within each other. With time working against them, each team deciphered riddle after riddle as we traversed the enchanting landscapes. While only one (very competitive and intense) team came out on top, we were all better for the collaboration and bonding that took place in the fray.
From the Gangster Museum and the Thermal baths to the coffee shops and beer gardens, the ThreeSixtyEight team split into interest groups to cover the whole of Hot Springs. There was hiking to be had, bathing incidentals to be indulged, and outdoor gear to be got. Of course we couldn’t help but go out for dancing and drinks on St. Patrick’s Day, and no night out is complete without a cold, refreshing Coors Banquet.
Now you see him, now you don’t: perhaps the most eclectic Arkansas treasure we found was none other than the illustrious illusionist Maxwell Blade. Since 2016, the historic Malco Theatre has been home to the tricks, antics and musical interludes of Blade’s multi-faceted magic act. The most magical part of all is when Maxwell invited our very own Gus Murillo onto the stage in order to perform a trick that would amaze the audience and stress Gus out: the disappearing hundred-dollar bill. Not to worry, by the end of the show the cash was restored to Gus and the audience was left speechless.
In our day-trip to Little Rock, we enjoyed exchanging thoughts and processes with the folks at Few. They are the brains behind the conference Made By Few, which highlights designers and developers, along with all the state of Arkansas has to offer. We exchanged conference ideas and picked their brains about how to make the best event experience possible. And of course, they joined us for lunch at Gus’s Fried Chicken.
President Bill Clinton grew up in our host state of Arkansas, so we took the opportunity to visit the Clinton Library in Little Rock. The team received a culture and history lesson as we learned about the state of the country and the world before, during, and after the Clinton administration. We grabbed a drink at the bar there… and it turned out we had just missed the man himself (by a week).
Perhaps the greatest treasure the ThreeSixtyEight crew discovered on our Arkansas adventure was each other. Our fearless leader, Kenny, challenged us to bare our souls with the Vulnerability is Sexy game (10 out of 10 – would recommend). Sometimes you spend months or years working alongside someone, and never really know them. Vulnerability is Sexy strives to bridge this gap and bring people closer through emotional, and hilarious, prompts. By the end of the retreat, everyone agreed that they learned more about the people around them and felt closer as a team.
We arrived back home from retreat refreshed, rejuvenated, re-inspired, and better than ever! What’s that you say? “Pics or it didn’t happen?” Well, we have a treat for you. Feast your eyes on 12 minutes of pure fun in the form of our recap video.